Spate of energy switchers turn-down SSE interim profits by 13%

family-consumer-sseProfits at Perth-based utility company SSE dropped by 13.3% to £475.8 million in the first half of this year, compared to the same period in 2015.

The fall was largely driven by the decline in overall customer numbers as consumers continue to switch from Big Six energy suppliers to independent rivals.

Indeed, SSE operating profit in its Retail division dived by 40.3% to £60.5 million as a result of lower customer numbers and non-energy costs for electricity customers.

In fact, more than half a million consumers switched their household energy supplier last month (Oct) – an increase of 53% compared to the preceding month (Sept).

In a three year record high for switching, a total of 577,810 customers switched supplier last month,

And the Energy UK figures show that 92,632 customers switched to a small supplier, which is 9% of all switches in October.

Meanwhile, SSE also announced it plans to spend a record £1.85 billion in capital expenditure and investment in Great Britain and Ireland in 2016-17 to develop secure, sustainable and low carbon energy infrastructure for the future.  

It also confirmed it plans to use the proceeds from the sale of part of its stake in gas distribution company SGN to return value to shareholders, with an on-market share buy-back of around £500 million – with around £100 million going to to support investment in a new onshore windfarm at Stronelairg, near Fort Augustus. 

Despite greater uncertainty in the economy, Chief Executive Alistair Phillips-Davies said SSE is investing ‘record sums’ supporting the modernisation of the UK’s energy infrastructure, including power production, transmission and distribution.

He said: “We are a company that invests and operates our businesses for the long-term and that’s why today we’ve announced plans for our largest ever investment in the UK this year – a record £1.85 billion.

“From building the clean, lower carbon generation we need for the future, the new and upgraded wires to transport energy around the country, and new, improved service for energy supply customers, SSE is investing in customers, in jobs, in the business supply chain and in Great Britain and Ireland’s economies at a critical time.

“There is greater competition in energy supply than ever, but SSE continues to deliver for customers, with the lowest number of complaints in the industry, leading service and a growing range of products and services.”

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